Independence in childhood

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by NickM, 14 Nov 2007.

  1. NickM

    NickM Veteran

    When I was seven years old, in the summer of 1964, I stayed for a week with my grandparents, who lived in a house on Hounslow Heath.

    Each day I would go off on my own on the Tube to South Kensington to look at things in the museums there.

    It didn't seem like anything unusual to me at the time, but 47 years later I find it surprising that I did this alone, and that my parents and grandparents were happy about it. Were other 50-year-olds on here allowed that much independence as children?

    And no, I don't think they were hoping that I might run away to sea...
  2. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Aye, looking back. I lived right on the edge of a large town...Go one way, into town. Go the other, mental hospitals and countryside. On our street, there were oodles of kids at/near my age. Summer hols, whole days would be spent in the woods, making camps, lighting bonfires, climbing trees, etc etc. Only ever went home for food and bed! I'm lucky enough to live somewhere where my kids can do similar, but it isn't quite the same....
  3. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    middle of Norfolk
    Yup (will be 50 next year). When I was a kid during school holidays I'd be out on my bike in the morning and return at tea time. Or out with friends walking here there & everywhere & back 'before dark'. Walked to school every day, after the first term of infants - we were encouraged to walk without parents as a way of gaining independence. I remember this clearly as there was a young lad in my year, named Teenus, who was walked daily to school by his mother and he had his leg pulled something rotten by the rest of the kids for being 'a baby' as he needed his mum to get to school. I remember the teachers saying to him class that he was big enough to walk on his own.

    Oh how times change!
  4. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    As an early-30s yrold, there's NO WAY PAL I would've been allowed out for the whole day as a 7yrold, certainly not to a town.

    It was all public information films and abductions when I were a nipper.
  5. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    i walked to school on my own from about the age of 6. i'm just the right side of 40 if it makes a difference.

    it's only the busy-ness of the roads that put the wife off letting the kids walk on their own, although they did one morning when she lost her keys.

    when daughter gets to high school, i shall ride with her in the morning until she is confident in the traffic and can ride alone (i expect a summer of practice rides beforehand).
  6. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    Waffly, I've seen your piccy on the 'What do you look like' thread. No way can you be 50 next year, unless of course you are the one on the right with the hirsute chin !! :blush:
  7. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    middle of Norfolk
    Why thank you, EF. I am the one on the left & I made a very careful choice of photo :tongue:
  8. OP

    NickM Veteran

    That'll be 41, then...

    Excellent! <insert "thumbs up" smiley here>
  9. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    middle of Norfolk
    This is what I did with my son. Be prepared for many an adverse comment from other parents and from school staff at all levels. :biggrin: I wouldn't have been entirely surprised if social services had appeared at my door to check I wasn't abusing my child and placing him in unneccesary danger :tongue:

    My son is now 19, at university and still cycling - so the doom-laden prophecies of all the adverse comment-makers when he was cycling to high school & sixth -form didn't come true after all :blush:

    If it's of any help, I found that cycling to school helped my son to develop a decent 'road sense' way above his non-cycling peers, and also he arrived at school *awake* ready for lessons, unlike many of his compatriots who appeared to crawl out of bed and into a car to be ferried to school by parents, as said classmates were still half-asleep in lessons from what I can gather from my son.
  10. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Similar story for me: I was certainly (late 1950s) walking to primary school on my own or with other kids, crossing two busy main roads in the process. And regularly taking a ten-mile train journey (having bought the tickets myself). But none of this will come as the least surprise to those of our, fifty-plus generation. Some older kids once tried to rob me, but there were no mobile phones in those days (and pocket-money didn't amount to much :blush:) - they ran off empty-handed.

    BTW I notice there is quite a clutch of forummers about to join the 50+ club: welcome, every one of you!

    I honestly do not know how we could possibly return to that way of thinking, amongst parents. There's too much to un-learn, it seems.
  11. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Sad sign of the times, really, but mine still have a fair amount of independence compared to many, which I'm happy about, and happy to encourage, too. Too mny parents are wary because they think they're supposed to be... common sense should reign, and a confidence in your parenting too.
    Another sad sign, bloke I used to meet dog-walking...his dog died, he misses the walks. I said "nothing to stop you still going out each morning is there?"; He said, well, you know, a man walking round the woods on his own.... I've offered to lend him my dog if he wants, but how sad!
  12. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    I'm 47; when I was 11, I went off with a mate on a 60-mile ride in the Essex countryside (we got hopelessly lost) and were gone for hours, but didn't dare tell our parents. We just said we were playing cricket in the park. :blush:
  13. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    My daughter is not allowed to leave the house on her own, ever. We don't let her watch TV, eat junk food or have boyfriends. She is not allowed to play on the computer unattended. She is not allowed to climb the stairs or enter the kitchen on her own. She is not even allowed in the back garden without adult supervision. I don't think this has affected her development at all.
  14. John Ponting

    John Ponting Über Member

    Allowed out on my own in 1964? I started work in 1963!

    However, I was allowed a lot of freedom from around 10 onwards. Climb trees; make bows and arrows from bamboo poles and pea sticks; collect the milkmans horse's droppings; cycle up to 20 miles from home; all the normal late 50s early 60s boys activities.

    Our daughter was allowed to go shopping, with a friend, from about 10 onwards. She has now allowed our eldest grandson similar freedom. He started secondary school this year and cycles both ways, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. At the weekend I ran out of croissant and he cycled to the boulangerie (well, Morrissons actually) to get some more. He then eat the lot and finished off the dipping chocolate sauce as well.
  15. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    In fact, she's a very happy 32 year old.
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